Getting sick or injured can be a major hassle sometimes. Not only does it make you feel generally lousy, but you might also miss out on work, school, or some other event due to an illness. If that happens, your employer, school, or organization may require you to supply them with a doctor’s note to excuse your absence. A doctor’s note is a legal document generated by your doctor and can usually be obtained quite easily as a cost-free courtesy included with the appointment. If you’re wondering when you may need to provide a note to an employer, check out the list below.
If Your Employer Requires One
Getting sick or missing a day of work is unavoidable sometimes. If you’re dealing with a contagious illness or something that may adversely affect others within your organization, there’s usually a need to provide an excuse for sick leave regardless of length. Sometimes, you just need to take a day or two off from work to recover. Other times, you may need a week or more (especially if you’re battling Covid-19 or a nasty case of bronchitis). While notes typically cover a single absence or multiple days due to illness and injury, they may extend a bit longer than that. Either way, the doctor will specify the dates when the employee must avoid being at work and when they can return to work. This is particularly important when it comes to contagious ailments and ensuring employees have appropriate recovery time. Per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission , employers are not allowed to ask for specific details of a medical condition unless it is absolutely vital to performing the job (such as an accommodation) or job-related, as the EEOC consider these types of requests to be “unlawful medical inquiries.”
For a ADA Accommodation
Outside of an employer requiring a note or excuse for sick leave, there are other reasons to get a note. One of them is for ADA accommodation. The Americans with Disabilities Act serves to protect individuals with an impairment or disability from discrimination, mistreatment and being treated differently. It also lays out provisions and instructions for reasonable accommodation for both businesses and individuals, such as providing accessible parking, accommodating service animals, and updating equipment. So where does a doctor’s note come in? Per the ADA:
“If the need for an accommodation is not obvious, the employee may be required to provide documentation of a disability from the appropriate health or rehabilitation professional.”
Getting a note for this purpose is one of the few situations where it may be a bit more detailed, but it still won’t contain specific info or violate HIPAA.
For Work/Workload Restrictions
Injuries are troublesome and can drastically affect your daily life. On some occasions, they’ll lead to certain work restrictions. In that case, a doctor’s note is necessary. Work restrictions might be caused by a medical condition or injury that makes you less mobile, feel nauseous, unable to perform certain aspects of the job, or if you need a lighter workload due to the injury. Whether your employer/boss agrees or disagrees with your restrictions on art, they are bound by law to follow them if your doctor makes the recommendation and seals it with a legal document such as a doctor’s note.
For Worker’s Compensation
Nothing is worse than getting hurt or injured while on the job. Many employers offer some sort of Workmans compensation to employees who are hurt while at work. Oftentimes, when an accident occurs at work, the worker must leave immediately and seek out medical attention. Afterward, the worker may need every time, restrictions, or other considerations to receive their workers compensation benefits. The doctors note acts as proof of the injury, going along with their medical details and paperwork to support their worker’s compensation claim.
For FMLA Leave
Using your rights through FMLA – the family medical leave act – is another situation where a doctor’s note will come in handy. FMLA is intended for situations in which people need to take extended time off work due to serious medical issues, pregnancy/childbirth, or taking time off to care for an ailing family member. The way family medical leave works is that you have to be employed by a company for a minimum of one year having worked at least 1,250 hours during that year. The company must also include more than 50 individuals within a 75 mile radius. The FMLA allows employers to ask for a doctor’s note when you request it for the first time. If you’re on an extended leave, the employer can ask for another one (or a medical recertification). So, in addition to getting a doctor’s note to prove to your employer that you need the time off, there are a few other considerations to be eligible for FMLA. According to the provisions of the act, any time you take off work due to pregnancy or pregnancy complications counts toward the 12 weeks for medical leave.